This week Sydney, Sienna and I had our group teach for Gymnastics, which was specifically designed for Grade 2 students. Our gymnastics lesson plan primarily focussed on teaching students to balance. We executed this through the use of two warm-up activities followed by a three-station circuit, which required students to practice using both static and dynamic balances. For someone who enjoyed participating in Gymnastics during my childhood, it sure brought back a lot of memories and nostalgia when devising this lesson plan. Some teachers dread teaching gymnastics due to the safety precautions they must adhere to, the time it takes to set up and take down equipment and the fear of having students injure themselves on equipment. However, after devising this lesson I learned that gymnastics can easily be taught in a safe and positive environment with minimum equipment needed. I believe Gymnastics should be included in every Physical Education curriculum because it is most effective in teaching students fundamental movement skills, for example, balancing, rolling, jumping and so on.
One factor that worked effectively in our lesson was that each of the activities including the warm-up activities involved some type of balancing movement. Having students complete each activity in the sequence we implemented enabled them to gradually build their understanding and further develop their balancing skills. All the activities were linked in that students were required to balance; however, the range of creative activities we developed enabled students to reflect on the many different ways we use balance in our daily lives. Moreover, we highlighted to students that gymnastics is often focussed on the individual and involves less teamwork. However, we believed that collaboration in gymnastics is necessary and important. Therefore, we included a collaborative activity in our circuit. We instructed students to work as a team and rearrange themselves on a bench from number one to eight. This was a great team building activity and one in which students were required to work together while developing their individual balancing movements.
If I were to replicate this lesson again in the future, I would re-evaluate whether I would include a circuit with only one teacher supervising and circulating the three stations. During our circuit, Steve had my partners and me to try and teach from standing in the center of the gym and from a birds eye view perspective. He posed the question of how we would manage this circuit on our own? I realized this was much more difficult than I had originally envisioned because of the inability to focus my attention on one station without having the other two stations attended to at the same time. This was especially difficult when students were instructed to switch stations and in need for the teacher to repeat instructions. In the future when teaching Grade 2 students I will break up the three-station circuit into one activity per day. Once the students have mastered each station, a circuit would be included at the end of the unit. Furthermore, instructions could be provided at each circuit for students to read over and remind themselves of the responsibilities for each activity.
Another thing I would do differently in the future is to demonstrate each activity at the designated station. This provides students with a better visual to remember the instructions and strategies for the activity before they are separated into groups to do the activities themselves. As a group, we decided to demonstrate all three activities at one of the stations. Also as a group, we agreed that in order to save time it was best to not have the whole class move from station to station for the demonstration. However, after consideration we decided this was not the most effective way to demonstrate the stations to students.
Overall, this experience was very enriching and rewarding. I learned that it was important to be flexible and not to be afraid of making changes in order to enhance or challenge the various activities. I hope to develop and implement a similar lesson that includes the modifications addressed above during my practicum this year!